Convincing Your Boss

to invest in your professional development

Success requires growth, period. The problem, however, is too many people are so busy doing work, they don’t invest time and money into getting better at the work they do.

SO, how do we make the case that a small chunk of time and money should be used to help us do even more work, and do it better? Here are some tips that can help.

Identify Specific Development Opportunities

Look for growth opportunities that align with your career goals and the needs of your role or department. Here are some examples:

Highlight the Benefits

Clearly articulate the potential benefits of growth opportunity. Explain how it will enhance your skills, knowledge, and abilities, making you more effective in your current role and better positioned for future opportunities. Here are some examples of how you could explain some of our programs:
  • The Scrum Training Course details a project management framework emphasizes flexibility and adaptability in response to change.
  • The Catalyst Leadership Behaviors Cohort promotes empowerment and collaboration among team members. My goal is higher employee engagement and better overall team performance.
  • The Project Prioritization Workshop is focused on teaching our project teams how to choose the right work at the right time, so that we avoid delays and stakeholder complaints.
  • Leaders can use Agile principles to identify potential risks in their strategies or projects, develop contingency plans, and adapt to unforeseen challenges more effectively.
  • Personalized Leadership Coaching Retainer will help me with specific skills and competencies to my new role. I’m most eager to work on communication and emotional intelligence. Expert mentoring on a recurring basis, over several months, will help me course-correct along my journey.

Calculate ROI

Every kind of improvement yields a different benefit, so it can be tricky to translate those benefits into a financial return on investment. Here are two ways that can help.

One approach can be to amplify the impact of known business case calculations. For example:

  • An Organizational Change workshop may have a list price of $20,000 USD.
  • That program may have a goal to yield an additional 10% adoption rate for a new sales initiative valued at $1MM USD in new revenue.
  • The ratio of $100K of additional revenue, versus the $20K program cost would be a 500% ROI, a very solid investment.

Alternatively, you can measure the program’s monetary impact, using the labor cost of the benefiting audience. For example:

  • An Advanced Adaptive Leadership program focused on empowering and accelerating team performance may list for $30,000 USD.
  • Meanwhile, the program invites 20 leaders, each averaging 7 employees they are directly coordinating, either as direct reports, or as a dotted-line project manager.
  • Each organization should define a blended labor rate for budgeting purposes, via the PMO, controller, or operations finance manager. Let’s say $125/hour for our example.
  • For the 2,000 hours in an average work year, that programs audience manages 280,000 labor hours costing $35MM USD.
  • If the program boost each team’s performance by only 1% over the course of the year, that would represent $350K of improvement, an 11x return over the $30K investment.

Granted, you may have to do some legwork to find the project valuations or blended labor rates. However, some simple math can make a big impact.

Offer a Plan

Present a plan outlining how you will integrate the learnings from the professional development opportunity into your work. Also, your plan should cover some important considerations…
  • Specify Milestones: Get specific with your actions. Mention a lunch-and-learn the week after the program, where you share key insights. List a target date for new templates, policies, or procedures you think the program will inspire.
  • Address Potential Concerns: Anticipate and address any concerns your boss may have about investing in your professional development, such as cost, time away from work, or relevance to your role. Provide reassurance that you have considered these factors and that the benefits outweigh the investment.
  • Emphasize Long-Term Growth: Position professional development as an investment in your long-term growth and success within the organization.

Request a Meeting

Schedule a meeting with your boss to discuss your professional development goals and present your proposal. Be prepared to make your case persuasively, answer any questions, and address any objections.

Every proposal requires a story. Use these tips to tell the story that reflects the impact you want to have, and how your growth will accelerate that impact.

If you need help crafting that story, feel free to reach out to us for any assistance or additional information. We look forward to seeing you at our next workshop!